The WAGAMAMA RAKIA glow-up has really been something to behold, hasn’t it? I would say that the group was always interesting, albeit kind of lost amid a ton of competition in their early years, but they did seem to be moving in the right direction by 2018. Then they add MIRI, start to shift their sound a little bit, and then last year’s WAGAMAMARAKIA effectively sealed them as major breakouts. And now look at them compared to this — Minami and Rin are still there from the beginning, but it’s effectively a completely different group doing different things and still just way the hell interesting and doing musical stuff that seems just a step beyond the cutting edge compared to their peers.
The SUPERIORITY EP has a certain victory-lap kind of feel to it in that regard. WAGAMAMARAKIA was the hey-look-at-us, and now here’s the follow-up, five more songs from guest writers that have this much more “street”* feel to them, doubling down on rapping and rocking and idoling all in equal measure — it seems like half of all new units anymore try to work in some raps no matter how incongruous, and while Wagamama may not have been the first, they did seem to emerge as the best practitioners.
The MV for the record’s lead, “JOKER”, hit this morning, and … yeah, really, you just have to experience it: Continue reading →
Posting about PassCode, which we don’t get to do enough
Enjoying a PassCode album, as we haven’t had a new one in a while
Spreading the gospel and hooking in some people who maybe aren’t as familiar
Anyway, let the title describe it for you. I almost always pass on live records from big idol gigs, the exception to date being the OG Red Night/Black Night Babymetal recordings. There’s just only so much time and unfathomable amounts of music to fill it with, and I may love idol but I also love a lot of other things; if I wanted to listen to off-quality recordings of people who for the most part aren’t particularly good singers in the first place, I’d invite my friends over for DIY karaoke again. Continue reading →
The first EP from Codomomental newbies akugi, Playplay, seems to be hitting the stores in Japan as we speak, and that means that it’s time to show us why we should buy the thing, and that means an MV, and frankly it’s been too dang long since we saw akugi do their thing, so let’s just right in:
I get the feeling that this one is less a Let’s Discover and more a Let’s Mutually Agree To Play Along While Maniac Covers His Ass About New Idols, so bear with me. But if you’ve been anywhere near the wonderful devilsend that is Satanic Punish, you’ve no doubt come across a worthy sister project called DEARDEVIL, which is just such a delicious bit of wordplay that I’m mad I didn’t think of it first. But anyway!
I hope you all remember one of my personal favorite Let’s Discover Some Idols idols from a little while back, which context clues should immediately make you realize would be MAD JAMIE, and which then in reverse does reveal my bias for the best debut of 2020. I can own that! If you haven’t listened to their FUCK FOREVER mid-length, I do encourage you to, for it is loud and simultaneously idolly and just delightfully chaotic. But anyway, since their actual physical debut several weeks ago I’ve been somewhat quiet on MAD JAMIE just because I haven’t been paying super-close attention — this isn’t the only MV they’ve put out recently, in fact — and in doing so upon noticing that they’d dropped another video from the album felt like it was time to give ’em a little extra boost while writing tortured run-on sentences.
The nice thing about regular check-ins on your YouTube subscriptions? You get to see when the acts you follow schedule debuts without having to delve into the cesspool that is Twitter.
So it unfolded in the composition of the Weekender, as there were several scheduled live streams and debuts of various things in the queue, and if anything I’m just mad that I had to wait for this new one from EIMIE for more than a day because you know I don’t work on Sundays anymore. But here:
The occasion? I have no idea! They bill it as “new song,” and it certainly is that. This is my kind of untethered audacity — eschew all norms for new releases and just get the things out there into the world in as shiny a package as you can. And is anybody complaining? Short of a handful of people who are big EIMIE stans desperately hoping for a physical album they can buy like 30 copies of, no! It’s a fun song that’s a little less on the outright heavy than the last one and a little more on the outright idol, with a snazzy-ass MV. I realize that not every unit in existence can put that much resource into every new song they deliver, but that doesn’t mean that the EIMIE standard shouldn’t be the overall one. Like okay sure, maybe you hamstring your ability to “sell records” and whatnot, but just think of how much more media we’d get more often!
If it’s all my fault, I’ll do this more often; Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da has graced us with two new MVs in two days. While both are to promote their re-recorded albums Q.E.D and Q.E.D. Bi with the current seven members lineup, they switched things up a bit by picking songs that never got an MV before!
The lucky winners are Kimi Kimi Syndrome X and Cult Scream (and, of course, you the fan who is getting two brand new music videos).
So just the other day, back when this was happening, I thought to myself, huh, it’s actually been a minute since we last heard from akugi at all, there must be something imminent happening there. And resultingly, because it was on my mind, bringing up akugi while talking with a friend who asked the obligatory just-heard-that-Maniac-does-a-Japanese-music-blog questions of what’s good and what should they check out and what do I personally like now and so it’s basically K-pop no you fool it’s nothing like K-pop there’s less distance between K-pop and modern American R&B than there is between either of those things and just J-pop, let alone the stuff that I write about oh hell what was I talking about? Right, see there’s this one company …
On Monday of this very week, then, with no real connection to the former, my brother messages me to start a conversation about trap metal. This revealed both our mutual passive interest in the form, our general disdain for artists X and Y, and my typing with vigor “lol there really needs to be some idol group that does trapcore or something”.
Forward to today! Thank you, Codomomental, for this morning giving us a refresher on what is for my money your most interesting new project since KAQRIYOTERROR, still with Architect in their name, found their groove several years in the past now. And thank you for this instance of breaking the Codomocore mold (songwriting credits!) inadvertently leading us directly into the path of a speeding freight train that I now fear is going to somehow be normalized into idol genre mores and suddenly it’s going to be face tattoos and misappropriated street fashion and snare rolls everywhere.
Anyway, the window closed hours ago, but you know the drill:
All right, I’ll admit to having been a skeptic about the latest WACK unit to emerge. ANAL SEX PENiS, or ASP as I prefer to call them because I’m not some prurience-obsessed teenager and I have to worry about how and where my website’s going to show up in various people’s Google results, really did feel like a stupid gimmick at first. Yes, we were willingly falling for an obvious ruse, as usual playing along with one Watanabe J. for the sake of getting to the bottom of whichever kind-of-inexplicable-but-no-doubt-lucrative-and-enviable game he was playing this time around, but the thing about falling for even obvious ruses is that you still went there and in the interests of intellectual honesty you have to admit to yourself that you did, in fact, let yourself believe if only for the briefest of moments, like a kid old enough to know better unironically hating the heel. I mean, read this. The line between truth and kayfabe is always clearly there somewhere, but whether you find it in the place where it really is as opposed to where you assume it to be, therein lies the trouble.
But anyway! As ASP emerged as a bona fide actual, regular-ol’ idol unit (name notwithstanding), it also became clear that they had the musical chops. And of course they did — WACK can be and usually is a lot of things, but musically not-good is not one of them. Yes there’s a template, and no we don’t call it Kentacore because it’s so wildly diverse, but good and enjoyable and undeniably punk-inspired if not outright so are all true things to say about the product, and those are perfectly fine bars to set, and then we can leave up to you the question of whether you like and want to listen to ANAL SEX PENiS.
Anyway! ASP’s first album is arriving, and they’ve been trickling out ever more music on Soundcloud as is the wont of new WACK units, and then yesterday they dropped their first MV, which is pretty much also the clearest multisensory view we’ve had of them yet: Continue reading →